Web-GIS forces rethink of IT strategy

Exprodat MD blogs in praise of web GIS, sees writing on the wall for big internal IT departments.

Exprodat MD Gareth Smith, invigorated by attendance at the Esri business partner conference, has been blogging on all four cylinders in praise of web GIS, suggesting that the IT department is now ‘optional!’ Smith observes that before the current ‘deepest of downturns,’ web GIS was only considered ‘nice to have.’ GIS developed piecemeal, first on the desktop in a single department, later on the server perhaps with a few web maps to broaden access. There was rarely a clearly defined strategic vision, in fact, ‘cloud-based GIS was viewed with suspicion, or was simply a non-starter due to IT policies.’ Just as the web GIS platform model was maturing, the oil and gas spending cuts hit.

Smith now foresees a complete reappraisal of IT strategy, ‘the days of large onsite IT departments and infrastructure are numbered.’ They are being replaced with cloud computing which has ‘come a long way in the last few years in terms of price, performance and security.’ Even before the downturn, consumer cloud services were ubiquitous. In industry though, the paradigm shift was hampered by ‘in-house IT that was no longer an enabler, it was a handbrake.’ Esri’s, release cycles were getting ahead of IT. Today it’s even harder to see oil and gas companies keeping up with three month releases. The message from the conference was clear, cloud-based web GIS should be at the core of your strategy, either with ArcGIS Online hosted by Esri, as an on-premise portal or in a roll-your-own deployment on Amazon.

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